DIVA’s Room of Wonder. The dreamy name fires the imagination. Not only is it the first room you enter when you step inside the museum, but the Room of Wonder concept is also the inspiration for a series of upcoming special exhibitions.
A tour of DIVA’s collection starts in her Room of Wonder. In this contemporary interpretation of a Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities and rarities, valuable objects from every corner of the globe are brought together in a cocoon of luxury. Visitors learn about Antwerp’s illustrious past, about the city that led the way in the production and distribution of art and luxury articles in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Silverware, jewellery, precious stones and exotic curiosities like coconuts, shells and coral were particularly sought after. In her Room of Wonder, DIVA tells visitors all about these objects and their collectors.
Trailblazing guest curators
With the focus on silverware, jewellery and diamonds, DIVA wants to contribute to the wonderment, curiosity and exchange of knowledge triggered by material culture. So as part of a special programme, she has invited trailblazing guest curators to create their very own version of a Room of Wonder. These guest curators might be collectors, patrons, artists, fashion, jewellery or interior designers, silversmiths, architects or photographers. They are free to draw on the museum’s collection and supplement it with other (art) objects in a bid to shed light on the ‘wonderment’ concept from different angles and link it to gemstones and precious metals.
Room of Wonder I: Axel Vervoordt
DIVA invited the Antwerp antiquarian and interior designer to put together a very personal Room of Wonder at DIVA. Since the early 1980s Axel Vervoordt has been putting objets d’art together in novel ways at the Biënnale des Antiquaires in Paris. In 2007 he also started curating exhibitions at Palazzo Fortuny as part of the Venice Biennale. By that time, silver was already one of his many interests and areas of expertise. In that period he handled the sale of the Antwerp owl cup which, thanks to the King Baudouin Foundation, is now one of the highlights of the DIVA collection. He also managed the transaction of the gilded tazza with wave pattern which decorates the cover of the exhibition catalogue.
The exhibition runs from October 19th 2018 to April 28th 2019.
With loans from: Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (Brussels) and the MAS Collections (Antwerp)
With works of art including: Anish Kapoor, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Jan Fabre, Wim Delvoye, Jan II Brueghel, Lucas Cranach, El Anatsui, Jef Verheyen, Lucio Fontana, Marina Abramovic, David Huycke, Paul Van Hoeydonck, Octave Landuyt, Niki de Saint Phalle and others.